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lower supply - what to do?


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  • 1 Post By hope71012

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  #1  
February 25th, 2013, 01:21 PM
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I am really unsure what steps I should take and would love some ideas and thoughts. Originally, I wasn't going to nurse at all. Each day is a milestone in my book and would be OK to stop tomorrow. However, it still makes me uneasy "what if she wont take formula or doesn't tolerate formula?"


A few months ago, DD2 started to drop her middle of the night feeding. She started going 10 hours at night. GREAT, I was trilled. I used to pump 8-10 oz in the morning after a feeding. At first I was doing just fine, then I haven't been able to pump good since. Now in the morning it takes me twice as long to pump and pump about half the amount. Yes, I do realize 8-10 oz is a lot - but it was my norm.

At the same time, DD stretched to feeding every 4 hours during the day which resulted in less feedings during the day. So, she takes 4 feedings on average during the day.

My supply dropped even more. She started waking up during the night again. Still can't pump good in the morning. So I added back in a pumping session. Then, two. My supply is still seemingly low. Nights that I give her a bottle of pumped milk and then nurse her she sleeps 8-10 hours. I can usually pump the amount I give her in the bottle at some point during the day, just not at bedtime. I haven't made it a habit, because I'd almost rather her wake up and nurse more often.

I don't know what to do because I can't FORCE her to eat more often during the day. I just can't. I've tried. I've also been trying to pump more often with little results. Just less time with my baby and family overall.


Plus, every time AF comes around my supply drops and I barely recover. When AF is in town, She's up 2-3x a time and last week didn't sleep a bit.


I need some opinions and options going forward. LO will be 7 months old on the 28th.

A few things I am considering:
1 - Keep up what I'm doing now pumping wise (pump after each feeding as often as possible). Keep trying to build my supply back up.

2 - Just relax with the pumping. Stick with the morning pump, but stop after a certain amount of time and call it a day. Let what happen happen with my supply. If it tanks it tanks.

3 - Do a combo of options. For now, do #1. When she's about 9 months old, stop pumping and let what happen happen. I have enough frozen milk for probably 3 weeks. Then I have formula stock piled thinking I was going to formula feed from day one. She would get maybe 1-2 months worth of formula. Or I could even do part formula part BM to last to one year.

4 - Something else entirely? I'm not into taking herbs and all that. I can try oatmeal, but in general it upsets my stomach too much to eat on a daily basis. I should probably do the 3 day nursing deal, but I just haven't been able too. My life is just too busy. We have to run errands, sports, etc. And nothing is just a "short" or "quick" trip its an all day or all afternoon deal.


Like I said before, each day is a milestone. We've made it (almost) 7 months. I'm very happy to have made it this far.
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  #2  
February 25th, 2013, 02:25 PM
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First, 7 months is great! Be very proud of that! Are you working?

Seven months is when I began to struggle, to be honest. I did everything I could to maximize my milk supply, but I did end up having to sometimes supplement one bottle a day--not always, but sometimes. And I can relate to the drastic dip in supply around AF time. But I was determined to make it to 12 months of pumping, so I stuck with it--that was my choice, but it isn't for everyone. And once I stopped pumping at 12/13 months, life got much easier, and we kept BF when I was at home until 29 months. So just know that if you do decide to supplement, or to stop pumping altogether, it IS possible to keep breastfeeding for a long time past that.

I can only tell you what I would do...ultimately you have to decide what is best for you and your family's situation. First, if at all possible I would just nurse your little one if she wakes up during the night. She's much more efficient than the pump at extracting milk, and that will help keep your supply up. It would also preserve that amount of pumped milk for some other time. I might nurse her, and then if she still wasn't satisfied, I might then offer pumped milk, but not before she breastfeeds. The more she stimulates your breasts, the better for your supply.

Second, I might try some of the pumping techniques like adding in a power pumping session every once in a while, pumping for at least 20-30 minutes each session, hand-expressing after pumping, massaging while pumping, etc...I don't know if you've tried any of that, but those things all helped me.

What I always WISHED I could do is wake up during the night and pump in the early morning hours when DD slept through the night. I was never really able to make myself do that, but...that is the best time of day to BF or pump, because that's when hormone levels are highest. And if you skip that time for pumping/breastfeeding, it is natural for supply to drop overall, which is what often happens when they start sleeping through the night.

Good luck to you, whatever you decide!
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  #3  
February 25th, 2013, 02:26 PM
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I'm not quite understanding, why are you pumping? Are you exclusively pumping?
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  #4  
February 25th, 2013, 03:42 PM
mgm78's Avatar Zoe's mom Meredith
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I am also confused. Are you only judging your supply by your pumping output or is the baby losing weight? if it is just the pumping output, that is really not a good indicator. Your pumping output is going to decrease, especially around the 6-9 month range. The pump is not as efficient as the baby and just is not going to trigger the milk production as much as the baby. It sucks, trust me, i pumped at work and struggled to get more than 2 oz total from every pump session. Have you changed your membranes? are you drinking enough water? you want to aim for 1 ounce for every pound you weigh (aim for, hard to get to for most people). Hang in there! I am glad you posted, cause if it is just pumping output, there may not be an issue at all!!! Also, nurse before offering solids and remember "food for fun until they are one."
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  #5  
February 25th, 2013, 05:12 PM
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I work part time, but baby is with me. I do a mix of bottles and nursing. On a typical day she gets at least 1 4 oz bottle and 1-1.5 oz of milk mixed with cereal in the morning.

It might just be the 6-9 month dip in supply. I did read that if you have an oversupply it tends to work itself out around that time frame instead of the first 12 weeks. Plus, she did start solids and milk amounts per day do tend to decrease.

At first glace, baby DOES seem content with nursing. Like she's getting enough. BUT, with constant sickness over the last month (she was sick, I was sick, then AF), I haven't been able to recover it seems. She was sleeping through the night, and now she doesn't unless I give her a small bottle and nurse. I don't know. Maybe my milk supply is fine, but my gut is telling me its not "low", but its "lower" then desired. Maybe I'm just being paranoid, but I feel like with everything going on plus 2 dropped feedings and the decrease in pumping output my supply has taken a hit.

I'm really struggling because I feel "stuck." Like I did with my older one, but for different reasons. It caused me to really resent nursing along with some other factors. I can nurse her and be done in 15 mins. Or spend 30 minutes trying to pump. Or times when I do have to give her a bottle, I can't pump what she drinks (and I don't think I give her a lot 4 oz seems average for a BF baby).

I have a medela PIS. I changed the membranes last week. I haven't changed any other parts. The pump was brand new in September. I did take apart everything and wipe everything clean. That seemed to help a bit. Not sure what else I need to do on that end. Could my pump by dying? I haven't called medela yet, but plan to in the next few days.
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  #6  
February 26th, 2013, 03:58 AM
mgm78's Avatar Zoe's mom Meredith
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There are some places that can test your Medela pump, you can contact Medela and ask them, but it is probably just the normal decrease in pumping output at that age. I would try nursing more and bottles less, except of course when you are at work. I know for me, by around 7 months, I had a hard time pumping enough and would have to pump when i got to work, at work, in the mornings and on my days off to have enough milk. Also, nurse before giving solids, breastmilk or formula should be their main source of food until at least 1 year old. Hang in there. I doubt there is a big decrease in your supply, because it is pretty normal at this point to have this issue. Are you double pumping? I would also, with the first morning feeding, nurse on one side and pump on the other. this would get the most pumped milk for me. Your breasts are never empty, so you do not have to worry about that. they are constantly producing milk.

Hang in there! And try to trust your body. Also check out the 3 day nursing sabattical in the stickies.
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  #7  
February 27th, 2013, 02:06 PM
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I am just so ready to give up pumping

I'm just terrified about how that will impact my supply. I don't want to give up nursing entirely, but I am very worried that if I stop pumping my supply will dip 100%. I so wish that I could spend a long weekend cuddled up with the baby and nurse on demand without a care in the world, but I can't. I have tried to do that every single weekend for the last month and I still end up being dragged somewhere for something. I just don't know what to do at this point. Part of me desperately just wants to give it all up, but another part just isn't ready.

I know its normal for supply to dip, but even when I miss a feeding to be unable to pump is very alarming. My milk wont letdown. I do try to trust my body, but its hard due to past experiences (I don't trust my body).
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  #8  
February 28th, 2013, 04:34 AM
mgm78's Avatar Zoe's mom Meredith
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have you tried hand expressing instead of pumping? have you tried power pumping for a couple weeks?
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  #9  
March 2nd, 2013, 05:20 AM
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I have tried to hand express some, but unless I'm very full that rarely works also.

I switched pumping spots. Instead of in bed, I've been sitting on the floor with my back against the wall (a few pillows for back support). Plus, drinking some more water (not as much as I should, but still). I'm pumping more and easier again. So maybe I just needed a change in routine. I am feeling full again which is great

Now I just need DD to start napping again and all will be good, LOL!
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  #10  
March 2nd, 2013, 06:36 AM
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Glad things are going better!
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  #11  
March 2nd, 2013, 03:12 PM
mgm78's Avatar Zoe's mom Meredith
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good update!!
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